Bjørn Melhus is a German-Norwegian artist who works with film, video, installation and
photography. In his work he opens a gate to an alternative reality, a surreal and kitschy dream world that finds its foundations in our own reality and forms an (in)direct criticism of its shortcomings. Melhus starts from a strategy of fragmentation in combination with a de- and reconstruction of existing segments from the mass media, an assembly of quotes and philosophy that provide content to his futuristic fairy tales. According to Melhus, this technique does not only lead to new interpretations and criticism, but also redefines the relationship between mass media and the viewer.
Sugar is a new addition to Melhus’s singular discourse, with the creator himself in the role of a HON, the post-apocalyptic remnant of man, a soulless “post-influencer” confined to the perpetual recitation of YouTube aphorisms. Sugar differs from, for example, Freedom & Independence (2014) or Can You See My Art (2018) in its more direct confrontation with the “big questions” surrounding our current society. Sugar follows a robot in its attempt to restore some humanity to humans as a result of the “ego-turbo-capitalism”. The film won the Prize in the German film competition in Oberhausen this year.
Freedom & Independence
This experimental short film questions the current ideological model of society in which religious capitalism is introduced. This is done through the confrontation of ideas and statements of the self-proclaimed objective philosopher and writer Ayn Rand with evangelical elements from American mainstream films. Malhus plays all the characters himself.
Moon over Da Nang
In his own experimental way, Melhus tries to get a grip on America’s post-socialist counterculture at the crossroads between past and future. He does this with a mix of interviews, surreal sequences and the documentation of the process of making a life-size marble statue in Da Nang, a city in Vietnam that was discovered 40 years after the war by international investors and tourists. Vietnam’s shadowy past is gradually being masked by the construction of hotels and luxury resorts.